Friday, April 9

Grumpy Idealist… (Original Fiction by Xan)

A familiar voice echoes up the corridor followed by the clatter of plate armor. “I am seriously beginning to think those three don’t want me to be around.”
The crash of every step gives away the cantor of someone bumping around without much light. A dim light flows up the cavern in the direction of the two companions. They both twist their rings and vanish into the background, just as the light touches their hiding spots.
“I swear by St. Cuthbert that they really need a good talking to about leaving someone alone in a monster filled cave, especially while they are sleeping.” The soot covered knight dusts some ash off his arm as he stumbles along the dirty path. “Leaving a note and traipsing off like nothing is going to happen to those they leave behind. As though they could just come back and the whole world revolves around them…
A small snicker echoes as if from another plane of existence.
“Who’s there?!” The knight freezes in his footsteps, the torch flickering as he waves it about frantically. “I am a crusader for St. Cuthbert; I am sworn to deliver Justice and Right. Prepare yourselves for battle!”
The laugh turns into two and the echo seems to amplify the sound to two thousand laughs. A rap on the poor knight’s armor makes him turn swiftly; the torch dimmed then flickered back to life.
“I am more than a match for all of you; now show yourselves to Solcloud Genus, deliverer of justice! Evil bewares!” Solcloud sputters out in fear.
“St. Cuthbert, these evil beings will not show themselves to me, reveal them to your servant, Solcloud!” A flash of light bursts from the holy symbol emblazoned on his breastplate. The cavern lights up in an explosion of light and sound. The light dimmed in every direction except for a trapdoor on the ground.
“Solcloud…” Zander’s voice seemingly jumped from corner to corner of the cavern. “Are you still looking for us?”
Solcloud drew his sword and gripped his shield tightly. “SHOW YOURSELF DEMON! I will not be deceived by your trickery, reveal what you have done to my companions.”
The laughter doubles as Beasley melts into sight from a shadow behind a stalactite. Zander steps from his hiding spot as though walking out of the wall. Just as the giant steps from the wall, Solcloud swings his sword at the emerging cleric. “En gardé, monster!”
Zander whipped his shield around just in time to block the large arc of Solcloud’s broadsword. The force of the hit knocked Zander to the ground, his wooden shield vibrating on his arm.
“I knew you had it in you, but you need to be using that kind of energy on your enemies not your allies.” Zander sat on the ground looking up into the enraged paladin’s eyes.
“What do you three think you are doing? This is not a laughing matter. You three left me alone while you ran away to get yourselves into more trouble.” The knight’s face continued to grow redder as he reprimanded his compatriots. “Where is Mayvn?”
Zander looked at his small brother in arms and then up to the paladin standing over him. “I thought he was with you. We left the protective spell over both of you.”
“I even checked the outskirts of the spell,” Beasley confirmed Zander’s story. “You were both covered when we left.”
The two pranksters’ hearts dropped as they looked to one another, feeling the loss of their mistake start to sink in. The paladin sheathed his sword and helped Zander to his feet. The three stood there for a moment assessing their next move. They had left a seemingly helpless poet and writer down here to fend for himself while they went off alone. Thoughts of betrayal, fear, and anxiety leapt into their minds.
“Justice will be done,” mumbled the dimmed knight. “We must find him. He is down here somewhere, and I will bet that he is in the way that St. Cuthbert has laid out for us.” The knight nodded, pointing to the glowing trap door on the ground with his cleft chin. “Evil will always show the way to justice.”

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